Sardines & Marmite, Bendamustine & Rituximab

posted in: Cancer 0

The Doc told us that “Bendamustine is usually very well tolerated and Rituximab generally doesn’t cause any bother”. Sounds hopeful. As we walk into the hospital we automatically adjust our faces to ‘cheerful’ mode and head to the Cancer Unit.

Husband feels a bit woozy this morning, slightly drunk from steroids taken at home (Dexamethazone) and hydrocortisone given to him in the Cancer Unit. He’s very good at not fighting these things and manages to sleep for an hour during the Bendamustine drip. I nip out of the hospital to get food, back to the ‘normal world’. On the stairs I pass a nurse carrying several bags of chemo, literally carrying the hopes and fears of those waiting for them.

Rituximab takes its time to drip through his veins – everything about cancer treatment seems to take so much precious time – but the Ondansetron keeps nausea mostly at bay.

It’s felt like a long day. We arrived at the Unit at 8.15, the treatment started at 10.30 and we left at 3.10pm. Unsurprisingly Husband is a bit fatigued and goes to bed early. Sadly the metallic taste which dogged him for a bit during RCVP is already here.

Day 2 of this treatment and it’s ‘just’ Bendamustine, which takes about 2 hours after the inevitable wait for the drug to be made up by the Pharmacy.

It’s such a cliché but we are so very grateful to have the NHS, to not have the added pressure of worrying about which treatments we can afford. I feel bad at having moaned inwardly over the years at paying what felt like a lot of tax and National Insurance. I’m so glad now!!

Day 3 – Chemo Fatigue & Nausea

Husband looks sickly pale and washed out this morning and is feeling shaky and shivery. He threw up first thing, only just managing to get to the bathroom in time. He was amazed at how quickly it came on and how little warning he had. However, it eased pretty quickly. He’s finding that a mug of hot water with half a lemon squeezed into it and half a teaspoon of honey helps.

He spent quite a lot of the day in bed and hasn’t been able to eat much, although he’s managed some fruit tea and an Ovaltine. He’s had a headache all day but no temperature so took Paracetamol. He never takes pain killers for headaches so he must be feeling as rotten as he looks.

He looked rotten and miserable for much of the day but he was able to sleep and this evening he looks more like him.

Day 4

Husband’s been in bed most of the day feeling very fatigued and rather sick. He hasn’t been able to eat much and even sitting up just feels like too much effort. He forced himself to walk 300 m or so to get some fresh air but that was as much as he could do. His headache is better than it was, though and he hasn’t had any nosebleeds.

Day 5

Husband has been up most of the day, has managed 2 gentle 15 minute walks and 2 small meals (sardines on toast). He’s had a headache all day but feels a lot less rotten.

Day 6

He’s feeling a bit more human again and is a much better colour. He’s feeling sicker than he did with RCVP and for longer but he hasn’t had any aching joints and that’s a blessing. He managed coffee for breakfast and well toasted toast with a scraping of butter. Usually he loves butter but he can’t bear any kind of processed fat at the moment and just wants salty things like sardines and Marmite. Ugh!

They say that cancer brings a new normal. Our new normal is celebrating the fact that he can eat sardines and marmite on toast or a few fish fingers.

Day 7

He’s definitely feeling more himself. While he’s not eating as much as he usually would he can now manage sausages, baked beans and potatoes. Small unremarkable steps but at least they’re going in the right direction.

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